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Brooks, Xan, and Saeed Kamali Dehghan. "Alter Argo: Iranian film to tell other side of hostage crisis." Guardian 11 January 2013.
Argo was met with outrage by many Iranians; the country's minister of culture and Islamic guidance calls Argo an "offensive act" with "evil intentions." A film called The General Staff will be directed by Tehran filmmaker Ataollah Salmanian and focus on the same material as Argo but from an Iranian perspective. Salmanian said the film will be "an appropriate response to the ahistoric film."
Coyle, Jim. "'Argo': Former ambassador Ken Taylor sets the record straight." Toronto Star 7 October 2012.
Taylor finds Affleck's film "fun," "thrilling," "pertinent," and "timely" but said that Canada was never "standing around watching." In fact, "the CIA was the junior partner" and "blind to rising threats" to the Shah's regime in Iran. Former Ambassador Taylor was not invited to the Argo screening at the Toronto Film Festival. After speaking with Affleck, Taylor was able to rewrite the postscript to read: "The involvement of the CIA complemented efforts of the Canadian Embassy to free the six held in Tehran. To this day the story stands as an enduring model of international co-operation between governments." Taylor says that "if ‘Argo' has a useful message, it is on the importance and need for diplomacy" and the fact that "what happened 32 years ago could happen tomorrow."
Damov, Yukon. "Diplomats in Iranian hostage crisis discuss Argo. Spoiler alert: Hollywood fudged the facts." The Newspaper (University of Toronto) 17 November 2012.
"Wednesday night's conversation between former diplomats Robert Anders and Michael Shenstone, hosted by the U.S. Consulate and the University of Toronto International Relations Society, was an exercise in displaying Hollywood's manipulation of historical reality."
Dowd, Maureen. "The Oscar for Best Fabrication." New York Times 16 February 2013.
Argo, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty: "Hollywood always wants it both ways, of course, but this Oscar season is rife with contenders who bank on the authenticity of their films until it's challenged, and then fall back on the 'Hey, it's just a movie' defense."
Erdbrink, Thomas. "Stung by "Argo,' Iran Backs Conference Denouncing ‘Hollywoodism'." New York Times 18 February 2013.
Erdbrink offers multiple Iranian perspectives of Argo and covers a conference attended by 130 people scheduled to discuss "Hollywoodism." Mehdi Tondro, a "specialist in anti-Iranian and anti-Islamic films," was enraged by Argo's depiction of the takeover. He said the Iranians look "stupid, backward and simple-minded" and feels that Hollywood is a "conspiracy by capitalism and Zionism." A former Democratic senator said Hollywood "brainwashed its audiences into thinking negatively about Iran." Iranians complained that "'Argo' just tears open the wounds in order to prepare the minds," believe this movie is "no coincidence," and "timing matters." An organizer of the conference stated that Iran wants to show the world that it is "open to debates" and want to "break the Western cultural embargo" against it.
Hruby, Patrick. "Tony Mendez, clandestine CIA hero of Ben Affleck's ‘Argo,' reveals the real story behind film smash." Washington Times 10 October 2012.
Hruby reiterates how the perceived ignorance and "cluelessness" of Hollywood made the location scout cover all the more believable. Mendez divulges his reactions to and involvement with Argo. Hruby says that "Argo's release has served as a kind of belated victory lap: After a recent preview screening in Los Angeles, Mr. Affleck addressed the audience and dedicated the film to Mr. Mendez."
Knelman, Martin. "Ben Affleck changes Argo postscript for Ken Taylor." Toronot Star 19 September 2012.
"Ben Affleck tells former Canadian ambassador Taylor, ‘If you have issues, I'll address them.'"
Knelman, Martin. "TIFF 2012: How Canadian hero Ken Taylor was snubbed by Argo." Toronto Star 12 September 2012.
"Friends glad former ambassador Ken Taylor wasn't at Argo premiere."
Lee, Kevin B. "Argo F-ck Yourself: this year's worst Best Picture nominee." Slate Culturebox. 10 January 2013.
Lee is unsupportive of Affleck's Argo for many reasons: it "settles into a retrograde ‘white Americans in peril' storyline; "marginalizes" Iranians from this period of history and "shunt[s] them into the role of villains."
O'Hehir, Andrew. "'Argo' doesn't deserve the Oscar." 18 February 2012.
In a lengthy review, O'Hehir describes why he is frustrated with the praise Argo has received for being "just a movie" when dozens of today's films "wrestle with questions of history, morality and philosophy." O'Hehir disagrees with the way this historical episode has been "rendered" into a "familiar action-adventure flick about American heroism" and "the inspiring patriotism of . . . cynical bastards in the film industry." O'Hehir displays many of the inconsistencies between true events and the way they were displayed in Argo.
Schenker, Andrew. "Argo." Slant Magazine 11 October 2012.
A must-read, two-star review: "Undeniably rousing, but deeply irresponsible, Argo fans the flames surrounding historical events likely to still remain raw in the memory of many viewers. In Ben Affleck's film, the past is present. Unfolding against the backdrop of the 1979 Iranian revolution and the resulting hostage crisis, the film quite clearly aims to draw parallels between that moment of history and the United States' current and increasingly belligerent attitude toward the Islamic Republic, goaded continually on by a bellicose Israeli state."
Theodoulou, Michael. "Iran planning a cinematic response to Golden Globe winner Argo." The National 14 January 2013.
In a film entitled The General Staff, Iranian director Salmanian plans to focus on the "20 American hostages who were delivered to the United States by the revolutionaries" in their feature film. The release of these twenty American hostages was viewed by the United States as a "crude Iranian publicity stunt to polarise American public opinion." Tehran stated that it was "releasing in sympathy for ‘oppressed minorities'" because eight of the hostages they released were African Americans.
Weisman, Aly. "Outlawed ‘Argo' DVDs are selling by the thousands in Iran." Business Insider 1 February 2013.
Weisman suggests that Iranians are not interested in The General Staff. They are interested in Argo, which is the reason why there is such a high demand for a bootleg copy. A student at one of Iran's top engineering schools said that the demand for Argo is telling the government that Iranians are "tired of this hostile behavior" and "it's time for us [Iran] to be friends with the world and the U.S. again."

See Also

Rollins, Peter C. The Columbia Companion to American History on Film: How the Movies Have Portrayed the American Past. New York: Columbia UP, 2003.

Video/Audio Resources

Affleck at premiere of Argo,0,3594044.story
Short clip from an interview at the opening.
Argo: Declassified
Promotional documentary. Very interesting.

Online Resources

"Affleck On 'Argo' And The 1979 Hostage Crisis." Fresh Air Philadelphia: National Public Radio. (Feb 22, 2013)
Terry Gross interviewed Ben Affleck in January of 2013. Affleck discusses his decision-making process as a director-actor, obstacles with casting, insecurity with directing, and addresses some of the liberties he's taken while filming. Affleck calls it the struggle between the "bookkeeper's reality" and the "poet's reality"; but his goal as a director is for "people to walk out of there [the movie] and say I understand this more deeply. And that -- if you corrupt that, it's a tremendous betrayal."
Best Director -- Motion Picture: Ben Affleck -- Golden Globe Awards
Affleck accepts the award.
Best Motion Picture -- Drama: "Argo" -- Golden Globe Awards
The producer accepts Best Motion Picture award.
Best Picture ARGO Director -- Ben Affleck's Acceptance Speech
Academy Awards. Comments on desire for accuracy.
Cole, Juan. "'Argo'" as Orientalism and why it Upsets Iranians."
"Ben Affleck's otherwise fine, Oscar-winning film, Argo, about the escape of some US embassy personnel, functions as American propaganda and a sort of neo-Orientalism. That it was based on a memoir of the incident by a former Central Intelligence Agency operative involved in the rescue is part of the problem. That memoir is a primary source and valuable, but good history, and good story-telling about history, weights sources and tries to correct for their biases. Argo does not. Some of the Iranian objections to the film are equally grounded in propaganda concerns, but some are legitimate."
Dehghan, Saeed Kamali. "Why Argo is hard for Iranians to watch." The Guardian 13 November 2012.
"Ben Affleck's film may depict a barely recognisable Iran but it is a sharp reminder of how young revolutionaries failed their country."
Dowd, Vincent. "Argo: The True Story behind Ben Affleck's Globe-winning Film." BBC World Service. January 2013.
Interview with hostage Mark Lijek.
Gillespie, Sarah. "Argo and the Iranian Savage: A Film Review." Palestine Chronicle. 27 November 2012.
"It is a rather curious time for Hollywood to launch a blockbuster movie based on the worst US/Iranian diplomatic fallout in history. Currently Iran is threatened with attack from the West almost on a daily basis, and sanctions have devastated the rial, plunging millions into poverty for the crime of (allegedly) developing the same weapons that Iran's agitators enjoy without reprisal. Meanwhile, in the fantasy emporiums of high street cinemas, millions of moviegoers across the world are invited to imagine the opposite scenario, a tale in which the innocent Western subject is faced with extinction at the whim of an Iranian aggressor."
Habibinia, Omid. "Review of 'Argo': the best worst film on US hostages in Iran." Your Middle East 25 February 2013.
"Both Americans and Iranians anticipated the arrival of the film Argo. Perhaps Iranians were somewhat afraid of how they would be depicted. Just like Rocky and Rambo, Argo was made as a compensation for a horrendous mental breakdown in American contemporary history, and carries the same polarized atmosphere. Thus, confronting this film is a bit different for the Iranian audience whose lives are politicized in all aspects."
Haglund, David. "How Accurate Is Argo?" The Slate 12 October 2012.
Haglund organizes his talking points into six separate categories to highlight the "reel" versus the "real" -- the "white lies" and "dramatic whoppers" in Argo: the premise, Canada's involvement, the escape, the fake movie, Alan Arkins' role, and Ben Affleck's role.
"Historical inaccuracies." Argo (2012 film). Wikipedia.
Sub-topics include Canadian versus CIA roles, British and New Zealand roles, Imminent danger to the group, and Other.
"Iran dismisses ‘Argo' best picture Oscar." CBS News 25 February 2013.
"The semiofficial Mehr news agency called the Oscar ‘politically motivated' because first lady Michelle Obama, from the White House, joined Jack Nicholson via video link in Los Angeles to help present the best picture prize. Iran's state TV called the movie ‘an advertisement for the CIA.'"
Jamshidi, Saideh. "Iran Reacts Angrily to 'Argo' Oscar." AL Monitor: The Pulse of the Middle East. 25 February 2013.
"Michelle Obama's live remote appearance from the White House at Sunday night's Oscar ceremony to announce the year's best-picture winner — 'Argo' — created a political buzz in Iran."
Jimmy Carter: 'Argo' a great drama. CNN 21 February 2013.
In an interview with CNN's Piers Morgan, former President Jimmy Carter calls Argo a great drama. "Jimmy Carter shares his knowledge of Argo, and how accurate the film was in comparison to the incident it was based on.
Kottor, Naveena. "Tony Mendez, The Real CIA Spy in Argo." BBC News 19 February 2013.
Touching a bit on Hollywood's involvement in the clandestine mission, Mendez says that "everyone knows that people from Hollywood go where they want to go, never mind the time in history. They forget about the fact that there is politics and danger in the world." On Ben Affleck: "Ben is a lot more than a Hollywood guy. He is genuine and a sensitive father. It has been a joy to be associated with the film."
Larsen, Josh. "Argo." LarsenonFilm. October 2012.
A must-read unfavorable review claiming that Argo opens with "an act of cultural imperialism" and is "a deeply myopic view of the world, one focused through a distinctly -- and distorted -- American lens." Larsen finds Argo to "play on our worst impulses" to "generate fear and suspense" and is "an unsettling combination of American jingoism and old-fashioned xenophobia." What Larsen suggests to be most problematic is that "cinematic fear mongering" is dangerous in a time where "war with Iran is being discussed in certain American circles."
Laverty, Chris. "Argo: Interview with Costume Designer Jacqueline West." Clothes on Film February 2013.
This insightful interview with West discloses some of Affleck's decisions to refrain from making Argo a period piece: "Affleck wanted to make the film look like it was shot then and not now." Affleck called West one day and asked: "‘can you dress all of the houseguests in 1970s clothing? I'm going to sequester them for a week. No cell phones, only 70's TV shows and movies.' They were totally cut off. If they needed something for an emergency, there was a desk phone with a dial." West sheds light on many nuances within the film -- definitely a quick, pleasurable read.
Lawrence, Jill. "'Argo' Is Great, but 52 Former American Hostages Are Still Looking for Justice." National Journal 28 February 2013.
Lawrence introduces readers to the fifty-two hostages not as lucky as the six who escaped the American embassy in Tehran. The "first victims of Islamic terrorism" recount their feelings of terror, loneliness, helplessness, and isolation as they struggled through 444 days of half-day inquisitions, physical, mental, and emotional abuse and torture, and mock executions. Former hostages address the ongoing, thirty-three-year legal battle for retribution. An attorney said of a former hostage who took his own life: "In reality his life was taken from him 33 years ago in Tehran, Iran." After September 11th and the episode in Benghazi, German, a State Department Budget Officer and former hostage, said "nothing's changed after all these years." Includes videos.
Lijek, Mark. "I Was Rescued From Iran; It wasn't like the movie." The Slate 18 October 2012.
Lijek calls Affleck's film "a necessary and enjoyable mechanism for introducing a younger generation to the origins of our confrontation with Iran." Lijek recalls the Hollywood option for three reasons and mentions that the group chose it over two other possibilities. He clarifies that Mendez was not in Tehran for as long as Argo suggests, that they'd made five stops prior to arriving at the Canadian's ambassador's home, Lee Schatz joined the group a week after escaping the embassy, and that "the Canadians were committed to keeping us until the crisis ended or until they could get us out." According to Lijek, "John Sheardown may well be the indispensable reason" he and his American colleagues were not discovered; Lijek found it "hard" not to see Sheardown in the Los Angeles premiere of Argo.
Myers, Scott. "The Toughest Scene I Wrote: Screenwriter Chris Terrio on ‘Argo'."
Chris Terrio, winner of best adaptive screenplay for Argo, was interviewed on Christmas Eve of 2012 and talks about his struggle working through one of the most interesting scenes of the film: Scene 58, where nine men sat in a conference room talking over various ways to exfiltrate the American houseguests out of Iran. The script of the entire scene can be found here.
Nebehay, Stephanie. "Former Swissair manager says 'Argo' scenes realistic." Reuters 26 February 2013.
A Swiss perspective is offered by Heinz Koch, former manager of SwissAir operations during the hostage crisis.
Salami, Dr. Ismail. Argo: From Hollywoodism to Iranophobia. Press TV, 2013 February.
"Along the recent Iranophobic attempts comes Argo (2012), a ‘nail-biting thriller' which according to David Haglund, takes a few liberties with the history. A few liberties, indeed! The false façade of the movie and the glorification of CIA agent Antonio Mendez (the hero, played by Ben Affleck) in particular and the intelligence apparat in general in smuggling the escapees out of Tehran gives a flimsily larger-than-life flair to the movie on the one hand and a too-good-to-be-true feeling to the multitude of audience whose minds have already been hijacked by Western media about Iran."
Terrio, Chris. "Argo." 2011.
The script for the film.
Van Sant, Gus. "Ben Affleck." Interview Magazine.
Affleck: "But to me, Argo is about storytelling, and in particular, the way fantasy touches a certain place in our collective consciousness. I like the incongruity of how in Iran, these people we think of as being revolutionaries or fanatics or whatever are just as aware of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader as our people are back home.
Writers Room on Argo. HuffPostLive 6 February 2013.
Chris Terrio, the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of Argo, sits down with Jacob Soboroff, HuffPostLive associate producer, in this video interview to discuss the writing of Argo.